CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Oct. 22, 2013) - Mount Royal University is pleased to announce it has received a $1.25 million donation from BMO Financial Group to fund scholarships, bursaries and a peer mentorship program for Aboriginal students over the next seven years. This gift will establish a first-of-its-kind awards program at Mount Royal by providing comprehensive financial and cultural support to Aboriginal students at every stage along their educational journey.
"This is a landmark gift in support of Aboriginal education at Mount Royal," said University President David Docherty, PhD. "It will help reduce some of the financial and societal barriers many of our Aboriginal students face, and it will show them that the community is invested in their success."
With the addition of 20 new scholarships and bursaries through the BMO Financial Group Aboriginal Student Fund, as well as a unique peer mentorship program, BMO's donation will support the work of Iniskim Centre - Mount Royal's academic and cultural support centre for Aboriginal students.
Supporting Aboriginal student success at Mount Royal is a natural extension of BMO's ongoing commitment to building strong relationships within Canada's Aboriginal businesses and communities.
"We believe in helping Aboriginal communities prosper and become economically viable, and a lot of that stems from education," said Robert Hayes, Senior Vice President, Alberta Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "There is a real need to support students both in qualifying and succeeding in university."
Unique to the BMO Financial Group Aboriginal Student Fund, students will be eligible for bursaries even before they enter a degree program, providing essential financial support while they upgrade their skills in preparation for university through Mount Royal's Aboriginal Education Program. BMO scholarships and bursaries will continue to be available to students throughout the course of their studies, supporting them every step of the way.
BMO is also partnering with Iniskim Centre to launch Mount Royal's first peer mentorship program specifically for Aboriginal students. Beginning in 2014, third and fourth year Aboriginal students will act as guides, mentors and role models to younger students, many of whom are living away from home for the first time and navigating cultural and spiritual differences.
"We're honoured that BMO is joining Mount Royal in our commitment to increasing the enrolment and retention of Aboriginal students," said Docherty. "This generous donation will further the hard work already being done by Iniskim Centre by providing more opportunities for Aboriginal students to express their identity, gain confidence and knowledge, engage in the community, and ultimately discover their own personal potential."
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With more than 46,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions and believes in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility. In 2012, BMO contributed more than $87.6 million in donations, sponsorships and events in Canada and the United States to groups, organizations and programs that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.